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For this assignment, you’ll take on one myth of the West – for example, some “facts” about a famous person, an event, or a place or an idea. Clearly define the myth, and then “bust it” by providing us the real story based on your own research. The myth and your findings will be summarized in a 500+ word article, plus sources, which I will post to the course blog. After your article has been published online, you will give a short “commercial” about it in class. Your due date will vary, according to the signup sheet. Your assignment must be unique in the class – no two people can bust the same myth.

This project’s success depends upon 3 things:

1) DEFINING a clear topic for research, a question which can actually be answered

2) LOCATING and INTERPRETING appropriate and authoritative sources to help you learn the real story

3) WRITING a clear, interesting, and well-sourced explanation busting the myth

Project Guidelines:

When you sign up, you’ll choose a topic. You’ll also choose a due date, so that the projects are spaced out during the semester. Plan carefully. Choose a date when you know you will have time to work on this project.

Research your topic using print sources (encyclopedias, reference books, reputable biographies or histories) or reliable online sources. Keep track of where you get your information. Try to trace your myth back to actual historical primary sources if you can, or as far back as possible. One good way to do that is to keep a research log.

Check your project with me one week ahead of the due date. You must have a clear topic by then, refined down to a focused research question, and some kind of rough draft or research log showing that you’ve begun to research this topic. You need to submit this to me by email (BEFORE class on the day it’s due), or hand it to me in class, or make an appointment during my office hours to discuss progress. This “conference” counts for ¼ of the project grade and needs to happen by classtime on your assigned day. If you miss the conference deadline, the highest grade you can earn on the entire project is a C.

Submit your final project by email/digital dropbox (preferred) or in hard copy one week after your conference, on your chosen due date, and it must include:

• Your article, free of spelling and grammar errors, and with a word count on it. It needs to be at least 500 words plus sources – there is no upper limit on its length.
• List of sources, correctly formatted in MLA or Chicago Style. Use standard online citation style, with your notes in square brackets, like this: [5], and then the notes at the end of the document, with FULL bibliographic information for each one.
• Research log, if you kept one.
• (Optional) 1 copyright-free image, in .jpg format (or a url link to the image), to illustrate the post on the course blog. Sadly, we cannot post any image that is protected by copyright.


Worth 15% of your final grade (4% for the conference and draft, and 11% for the online final version). Your grade will be assessed on how closely you followed instructions and your attention to detail, whether your myth was a well-chosen topic, how thoroughly you researched and reported on your myth, the creativity and originality of your overall presentation, quality of your sources, and whether your article is well written and historically accurate.